9 August, 2021
For the last two weeks, the world has had something to watch on television. Whatever the time of day, there’s been a live sporting event happening, or a replay of a sporting event happening, or a panel of champion sportspeople teaming up with champion sports commentators to talk about the sporting events that have been happening.
There’s been international rivalry, keeping note of medal tallies. There have been instant national celebrities created out of people we didn’t know existed the day before, and likely will forget their names until three or four years time when we suddenly remember why that person is such a hero.
Thousands of people have worked hard, well out of the spotlight – constantly training, striving to improve, waiting for their moment in the sun when others get to acknowledge the work they have put in, and the impact they have made on our lives. For however briefly.
Coincidentally, in the past two weeks, my mother-in-law was dying. In her final days, she’d often tell her loving relatives to stop talking and reading her books, and maybe just watch the Olympics. Her only son spent as much time giving his mother sips of water as he did commenting on whatever race or game was happening on the television in the palliative care hospital ward. Although in a photo finish, I suspect the Olympic commentating may have won.
She ran her race, and it’s over. She finished the race.
Did she win gold? Silver? Bronze?
In the end, it doesn’t matter. She completed her race.
Whether you are living or dying, competing in a sport, stuck in your house because of a COVID lockdown, studying or working hard every day to pay bills – all that really matters is just that you are simply doing your best.
The only competitor you have is time. And yourself.
There are no medals. There is no pot of gold to celebrate your efforts.
There’s no real reward for a life well lived, or a race well run, beyond the knowledge that you have done your best, you impacted someone’s life in a positive way, and you left your mark.
Run your race and play your game to the best of your abilities, and give it your best shot.